Ethiopians win 2023 ECOWAS Abuja International Marathon, Nigerian runners shine

The 2023 ECOWAS Abuja International Marathon witnessed a thrilling display of athletic prowess, with Ethiopian runners claiming top honours in the half marathon men’s and women’s categories on Saturday December 15, 2023.

Though it was the East Africans that carried the day, Nigerian athletes represented the sub-region meritoriously; shining brightly across the podium.

In the men’s half marathon, Gebresilase Abadi Haftamu of Ethiopia stormed to victory, securing a well-deserved first place and a hefty $10,000 prize. 

While Kenya’s Alexander Njai Muhia, followed close behind in second, taking home $5,000, Nigeria’s Sadjo Ismael earned $4,000 for his third-place finish.

In the Women’s category Ethiopioa’s Belay Minsewo Abensah also snatched the top position.

Daylop Patience led the charge for Nigeria, claiming a fantastic second place in the women’s half marathon and earning $5,000 for her efforts. Maiate Yohanna Vera and Badung Pam Deborah finished third and fourth respectively, adding another layer of Nigerian success to the event.

The ECOWAS Abuja International Marathon offered generous prize money, acting as a powerful motivator for athletes across the continent. 

The top ten finishers in the half marathon were richly rewarded, with each position receiving a substantial sum. From $3,500 for fourth place to $1,000 for tenth, the financial incentive fueled the competitive spirit and contributed to the overall success of the event.

The excitement wasn’t limited to the half marathon. The five-kilometre family and fun race also saw enthusiastic participation, with the top five finishers receiving prize money ranging from $750 for first place to $200 for fifth. 

This inclusive category fostered a sense of community and encouraged engagement from runners of all levels.

Race Director Gabriel Okon expressed immense satisfaction with the event’s success, particularly lauding the calibre of runners who participated. He highlighted the growing stature of the ECOWAS Abuja International Marathon and celebrated the improvement shown by Nigerian runners.

Francis Chuks Njoaguani, Director at ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development, extended gratitude to all those who contributed to the race’s success, including the Federal Capital Territory administration. 

He further emphasised ECOWAS’ ongoing commitment to investing in initiatives that empower and improve the lives of youths across the West African sub-region.